Thursday, December 02, 2010

Net Neutrality - Pravda Under Another Name

The FCC is still trying to get its hands on the Net.  In the words of a Socialist (interview from The Socialist Project):

There are three overriding and connected issues that are central to media democracy activism in the United States.
The first issue is the Internet. The battle for network neutrality is to prevent the Internet from being privatized by telephone and cable companies. Privatization would give them control over the Internet, would allow these firms to privilege some information flows over others. We want to keep the Internet open. What we want to have in the U.S. and in every society is an Internet that is not private property, but a public utility. We want an Internet where you don’t have to have a password and that you don’t pay a penny to use. It is your right to use the Internet. The benefits of a public Internet are numerous. It would end the digital divide, which remains a very serious problem in the U.S. and worldwide.
Oy, where to start?

First, I'm really not sure where he is going with that "you don't have to have a password" - is he implying that none of our messaging, text uploads/downloads, or other interactions should be private?  I wouldn't like that - I like my privacy.

I don't quite know how to explain it to him, but there IS NOT A DIGITAL DIVIDE.   All kids have it at school.  The poor and/or homeless have it in shelters, libraries, unemployment offices.

No, it's not as convenient as having it in your own living room, but the Internet is available to any American that wants it - period.

I'm DEEPLY suspicious about government attempts to take over media (for, after all, that's primarily what the Internet has become - the People's Media).  In countries that do have that control, it's mainly used to keep their subjects citizens from accessing it freely.

BTW, I strongly suggest that you read that nut's ramblings about state control of the media (he's for it).  His views are in the mainstream for liberals, unfortunately.

And, that's why I'm against the state control of the Internet.

I posted this, and realized that the word Pravda might not be known by the younger readers.  Pravda was the official newspaper of the former Soviet Union.  The word itself means "Truth" - which the actual newspaper was NOT dedicated to.  Pravda published propaganda straight from Stalin's mouth; the crop estimates, the production figures, the slant on event of the day - it was news as the Soviet controllers wanted its subjects to read about - highly massaged data, "official" statements, NO criticism of the government or its rulers.

Ordinary citizens didn't read Pravda, they decoded it - reading cynically and for clues to the real situation.  Pravda was the premier example of what a state-run media could become - a way of keeping the people clueless and under their thumb.


1 comment:

ruralab said...

While I don't agree with the person quoted, I also don't agree with the statement that there is no digital divide. There most certainly is a divide - in access to infrastructure, to hardware, to software; in capacity and skills and on and on. It is a distinct oversimplification of an issue to say that anyone can get internet at a library or unemployment centre. That isn't entirely true. Check some of the research before you make bold statements.

(and no, the state, NO state should have control over the media. But huge corporate control isn't so great either. That is what is good about the internet - a level playing field)